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Free Citizen

This writer espouses individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.

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Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Saturday, August 04, 2007

"Massive" Re-registration of Mississippi Voters?

Some of those commenting on U. S. District Judge Allen Pepper's June 8 decision need to actually read the ruling.

The ruling declares Mississippi's primary election law unconstitutional. If this is upheld-- as I believe it will be-- each party will be free to say who votes in its primaries. The Democrats have indicated that they will invite unaffiliated voters but exclude Republicans from Democratic primaries. The Republicans, in contrast, have said that they will keep their primaries open to ALL voters-- even if party registration is enacted. Thus, Republicans will be the only voters who will have fewer choices than they have today.

Party registration and voter ID are the legislature's prerogatives. In the unlikely event that the courts ultimately force those measures on Mississippi, it will be the first time that either has ever been mandated on any state. The notion that party registration and voter ID go hand in hand is belied by this fact: of the 29 states with party registration, 19 do not have voter ID.

The purpose of party registration is to identify voters. Louisiana, for example, has had party registration since 1916. On Louisiana's voter registration form, there is a "party affiliation" box. The applicant circles either the name of one of the parties, "none," or "other." An applicant who leaves the "party affiliation" box blank is registered as "none."

Mike Sayer [June 26 letter to The Clarion-Ledger] writes of "a massive re-registration of all... voters." We have Motor Voter, and the one-page registration form can also be downloaded and printed from the secretary of state's website. The applicant fills out and signs the form, addresses it to the county circuit clerk, and drops it in the mail. By return mail, the circuit clerk sends a voter card that tells the registrant where to vote.

If party registration is enacted, a "party affiliation" box will be added to the registration form, and each registrant's affilation will be noted on the voter card and the voter roll. Hardly "massive."

There's no way that party registration will be ordered for the August 2007 primaries. Period.

The Clarion-Ledger ran this letter on July 2, 2007.

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